There are a slew of different ways you can work your arms. You can turn to traditional strength training a la push-ups, hop onto a machine like an elliptical, try a boxing workout... or you can take a shortcut and try this Pilates arm workout that uses weights and slow movements for a killer burn.
Triana Brown, our Trainer of the Month and Solidcore instructor, is taking us through an arm-quaking, Pilates-inspired upper body workout that will fatigue your muscles to failure (which is a good thing) in under 10 minutes. Though going slow might sound simple, as opposed to whizzing through bicep curls, it'll make you feel every ounce of your upper body as it gets activated and stronger. It might feel challenging to work through, but you've got this.
All you'll need? A pair of light weights. Brown goes with five pound dumbbells, but grab whatever works for you... and get ready to feel the burn.
Try this 5-move Pilates arm workout with weights
1. Dual-tricep kickback: Grab your weights and stand hip-width distance apart. Stagger your stance, puff up your chest, and brace your abs. Lift your elbows so that they're nice and close to your ribs. Squeeze your triceps to extend at the elbow, and then slowly come back to bring your hands in line with your elbow. From there, extend back out nice and slow. Don't arch your low back, and squeeze your abs throughout the entire range of motion. Keep your elbows elevated for the most tension in the triceps. For a challenge, extend your arms out and hold it there and maybe add in a little pulse. Do this for one minute.
2. Tricep kickback—left: Drop one weight and plant your hands onto the ground in a tabletop position. Lift your left elbow up, squeeze that tricep, and extend your arm straight at the elbow. Protect your lower back and keep your eye gaze straight down, and keep your elbow close to your ribcage. Roll your shoulders back away from your ears to release tension and stay slow. For an added challenge, hold at the top and add in a pulse. Do the full range of motion for one minute.
3. Tricep kickback—right: In a tabletop position, lift your right elbow up and squeeze the elbow as you extend your arm out, stopping when your hand is in line with your elbow. Keep breathing as you keep your abs engaged. If your arm is shaking, you're doing it right. Do this for one minute.
4. Wide rear-delt press: Grab your weights and stand up with your feet hip-width distance apart. Roll your shoulder blades back and extend your elbows, arms long behind you. Push your hands straight back and pause when the weights start to touch your butt. It's important to keep your hand behind your body here. Bring them back, extending at the elbow. Bend your knees and keep your shoulders directly over your hips, abs in tight, eyes forward. The wider you are, the more tension you'll feel in the upper back. Do this for one minute, moving slowly.
5. Bicep curl: If you want, grab a heavier set of weights. In your power stance, contract your bicep to bring your hands towards your shoulders. Then lower down so your hands come towards your hips. Keep a micro-bend at the bottom so that you keep tension in the bicep. As you curl up, let your elbows stay stationary. We're going to add a serve-the-platter variation to add a challenge, so come up to the top, come down halfway, then brace your abs as you raise your hands so that they come in line with your shoulders. Then lower back down to a 90-degree angle. Curl all the way up to the top, and extend back down. If you need support, you can do one arm at a time. Do this for one minute.
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